Report: NSA all up in your buddy list, snooping on your contacts


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This is a real boon for Hollywood.

Each day, the presentation said, the NSA collects contacts from an estimated 500,000 buddy lists on live-chat services as well as from the “in-box” displays of Web-based e-mail accounts

No more losing precious commercial time to the “dig up the suspect’s friends from childhood” phase. They’ll just key in “list the ol’ video game buddies from 20 years ago” commands.

It’s not like they’d be filtering out minors, right?

So, is there any part of the spook-wet-dream “Total Information Awareness” program that actually died, rather than burrowing underground and hanging out with the NSA?


We might as well accept that online privacy was a pipedream.
At best the NSA can use the information to catch criminals. At worst, it is a tool that can be used against civilians who disagree with those in power.

Personally, I think there are two options: Minimize online activity. Or openly speak your mind without worry of consequence. If we have freedom of speech, there is nothing to worry about. If we have lost our freedom of speech, then we need to be aware of that.

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That doesn’t address whistle blowers and freedom of the press. And there are no other private forms of communication. Phone, mail, and internet are all covered.


I think this is just their excuse for stalking 14 year old girls.


Oh NSA, you make the worst PowerPoint presentations. Please hire a graphic designer.

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I’ve already spent a lot of time keeping my social media sites as anonymous and untraceable as possible before anyone even heard of the NSA – not so much for fear of the government, I’m just not ready to tell my friends and family I’m bisexual.

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If you don’t know anybody who has done something wrong or has a name like someone who has done something wrong or sounds muslim you have nothing to worry about.


Remember when radical just meant awesome? Like, ninja turtle usage? I would like to officially disclose that I frequent a RADICAL site called In fact, I’m going to save everyone some trouble - I even associate with members of this order using a cleverly disguised message board. Cowabunga.

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At worst, it is a tool that can be used against civilians who disagree
with those in power.

It is like some people believe that world leaders have no imagination at all. Or that they can’t buy/conscript people to have imaginations for them.


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Great, now the government knows the truth - I have no friends.


Nobody takes an interest in them until after they shoot/bomb someone/something…

Those numbers seem a little low. A couple of orders of magnitude low. Why didn’t they just buy a few CDs of verified email addresses from the Russian spam-lords?

There should be an obligatory XKCD here. Something about creating a dummy social network and then using the “invite your friends from Google/Yahoo!/Facebook/Twitter/Orkut/etc etc” functionality to copy the internet’s social graph.

Why create a dummy social network when you can get an administrative subpoena for essentially all the real ones?

Those numbers are address books, not addresses. CDs full of spammable addresses don’t tell you who-knows-who, which is the really valuable bit.

The idea of creating a ‘bait’ social network is funny, though having worked for a wanna-be Facebook/Yelp start-up, getting any significant number of people to join and import their contacts is a lot harder than you might think!

The name William Hunter was on a do not fly list – I wonder how many people besides my colleague got snagged by that one?

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